Blueing My Mora Knife - Applying a Rust Resistant Coating using Vinegar

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by MungoSaysBah, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. MungoSaysBah

    MungoSaysBah Tinder Gatherer

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    The other night I was cleaning up my Carbon Steel Mora with a bit of fine sandpaper - the metal tends to discolour with regular rough use. The surface became nice and clean, nice and shiny, but I wanted to try to keep the surface protected. In lieu of spraying it with messy WD40, I thought I would oxidize the surface to get Black Rust to create the result known as Bluing. Creating Black Rust (magnetite Fe3O4) is known as bluing - a process in which steel is partially protected against Red Rust, and is named after the blue-black appearance of the resulting protective finish. Black rust effectively coats the iron/steel and prevent oxygen from reaching the underlying metal. The red rust you normally see is (Fe2O3).

    Previously I have spread regular mustard onto the blade, wrapped it all in plastic food wrap, and left it overnight. Being somewhat worn out after work, and thinking about the 10 stairs I would need to ascend to reach the mustard in the kitchen, I decided instead to grab some vinegar from the cold room in the basement and fill a Nalgene partially with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.

    [​IMG]
    I put the knife up to the hilt in the liquid and left it for 36 hours.

    [​IMG]
    I took it out, wipped it with a paper towel and lo and behold I had a nice, rich looking patina. My fingerprints were evident in the coating - next time I will clean the blade with a bit of methanol etc... prior to treating it.

    [​IMG]
    Although I didn't take any photographs of the metal prior to treatment, I am comparing it with a laminated steel Mora (the blade contains rich carbon steel in the middle - hardness about 59/60, sandwiched between slightly tougher, lower carbon steel laminate strips).

    [​IMG]
    Cheers,

    Mungo
     
  2. Okbushcraft

    Okbushcraft Guide

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    Thanks! May play around this. John.
     
  3. snakedoctor

    snakedoctor Deceased

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    Thats a great job! I like it!
     
  4. pocomoonskyeyes

    pocomoonskyeyes Guest

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    Too bad you were tired. I like the "patterning" you can do with Mustard. But I only left it on my blade for about 6 hours. Does it really need to stay so long?
     
  5. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Depends on the design you want. I usually play with "splotching" rainbow colors with it and get neat effects within several 25 minute sessions. It gives a bit of a swirl and layered look depending on how its applied. I like both mustard and vinegar.

    If you get three gallons of vinegar and freeze them, the juice that isnt froze is concentrated and when combined, by my math, equals a hefty 35% acid solution. I get good,deep results with it. You will not get much out of three gallons though, as its only 5% acid when you buy it...so you get about 16 ounces out of three gallons.
     
  6. tnrick55

    tnrick55 Banned Member Banned

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    very usefull post thanks.adding to this post im trying it now lets see what happens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  7. wolfy

    wolfy Guest

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    Pardon me,.....but would you have any Grey Poupon!
     
  8. KuRUpTD

    KuRUpTD Guide

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    Looks good ... I may have to try that on my Mora.
     
  9. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Thats a great idea,and Demo

    Thanx
     
  10. FrauHilda

    FrauHilda Guide

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    When restoring an old blade, you can clean all of the rust off with fine steel wool or a scotch-brite type kitchen scrubber and some Bar Keeper's Friend, and then force-patina again this way.
    I have always used straight vinegar without diluting - so I will give that tip a try.

    A light oiling after this treatment and you will NOT get rust unless you leave the knife wet for several hours, even then, the red rust usually just wipes right off.

    After honing my kitchen knives, I'll run the edge through a lemon and then just dry without washing - that will bring the patina down to your edge again. If you keep the oil to a minimum, you also keep that nice, flat black, 'parkerized' look.;)

    This will oxidize with certain foods so beware. Harmless, but will turn.. say eggs for example, a most unappetizing shade of grey.

    Thanks for the demo and tips Mungo. :)
     
  11. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Nice stuff, man.
    Naval jelly works pretty good, too.
    Iz
     
  12. FrauHilda

    FrauHilda Guide

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    I just wanted to add to my above post and clarify that when I said "restore" I meant a utility blade, like vintage kitchen cutlery, or a rusty old garage sale find etc.

    I wouldn't presume to offer suggestions for the restoration of fine antiques, custom, or otherwise priceless blades. ;)
     
  13. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    That is a good patina you got there, better than any one I ever made. I would never be able to make it to 36 hours being as impatient as I am! I think I made it 2 hours once with vinegar on a paper towel. Now my favorite thing to do is use the Mora to slice some meat and I get a nice blue/yellow patina.
     
  14. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I do agree with that. I like the blue hue that meat gives to carbon steel. It's purty.
     
  15. Outrider

    Outrider Scout

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    That's a really nice patina, I like that a lot. I like to do mine with mustard...that's vinegar too but not as concentrated. I'm surprised how there was no effect at all on the handle, vinegar is pretty caustic.
     
  16. wingbone

    wingbone Tracker

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    good info mungo...brownell's offers a good selection of cold blues as well as Belgium rust blue.
     
  17. lobstercreek

    lobstercreek Guide

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    ive decided to try this on a few knives ive made before i give them for Christmas
     
  18. plowboy

    plowboy Tracker

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    Fantastic job! I appreciate your discussion of blue rust v. red rust. Again, great looking job.

    Thanks,
    :)
     
  19. hayride

    hayride Tinder Gatherer

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    I hear you can also give your mora a nice patina by sticking it in a longer variety potato leaving it for a few hours. Haven't tried this yet, I'm about to tonight with a mora I just bought yesterday and I'll post pics and description of results.
     
  20. solocanoe

    solocanoe Bushmaster

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    I stuck my Mora in a potatoe overnight - that was 6 months back...the one I posted that I did the hundreds of graprefruits with since..... it's still holding up great.

    not as fancy as this thread, though. congrats on your results

    (and thanks for the pics - the science was a bit thick there for me! :D)
    .
     
  21. Keepntime

    Keepntime Scout Bushclass I

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    I will be trying that with my Mora. Thanks
     
  22. Capt. Jeff

    Capt. Jeff Guest

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    very cool! i like how dark you were able to get it! i have done this before, but never kept it in for that long. i may have to try this in the future!
     
  23. Gryphonblade

    Gryphonblade Guide

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    You can get spots by spritzing a blade with straight vinegar. I did that on both my kook and my Hultafors.
     
  24. Easy_rider75

    Easy_rider75 Bushwhacker

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    Really seriously thinking bout doing this to my Mora
     

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